Thoughts on Van Persie

August 21, 2012 by  
Filed under Arsenal FC, Premier League, Transfers

So Robin Van Persie has finally joined Manchester United after a summer of speculation. The deal is worth around £24 million for the Gunners skipper and in the end, maybe it is a good bit of business from Arsene Wenger. 

Although everyone assessing football bets  will agree that last season, the Dutchman was an instrumental figure in Arsenal’s campaign and they would have been nowhere without him – it was the only time he had made more than 30 appearances in a season in the Premier League. 

Wenger has stuck by his striker though countless injury problems and then after one good year, he is off in a search to win trophies. 

With the players that the North London side have brought in so far – Lukas Podolski, Oliver Giroud and Santi Cazorla, Wenger could have not really shown much more intent so it seems as though he was fighting a losing battle to keep him at the club. 

Of course, if Van Persie stays fit for the entire campaign then he will score goals – no doubt. Add that to the thought that he will be alongside Wayne Rooney, it could be a very successful year for United. 

He could have given Arsenal one more year though and seen his contract out. Look at the players that have come in and make a genuine title challenge. 

Maybe as well Wenger should have just let the 29-year-old go straight away – avoid the whole speculation over the last few months and have fans excited about new signings instead of worrying about life without the skipper. 

The Gunners can still go into this new season with good hopes about a successful year. They have not finished out of the top four for a long time, even after losing Ashley Cole, Thierry Henry, Emmanuel Adebayor, Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas and now Van Persie – that really says something. 

Although it must be frustrating, win their first few games and watch Podolski and Giroud get on the score-sheet and they might be crying out ‘Robin who?’

Whether you have some arsenal tips  to dish out or not, it does look to be another fascinating year in the Premier League, but you know Arsenal will be strong, no matter what.

Liverpool 1:2 Arsenal Full Match Report

March 4, 2012 by  
Filed under Arsenal FC, Premier League

So, just 3 days after the International break we emerge for yet another big game for Arsenal. This time the trip will take us north to Anfield.

To say both teams had a bad international, injury wise, would be fair. Arsene Wenger was angered by the Belgian FA after Thomas Vermaelen, who was injured after the North London Derby last week, was ‘forced’ to play the full 90 minutes against Greece. Arsene has since threatened to report Belgium to FIFA regarding the matter.

When asked about the situation Wenger said ‘It looks like Belgium has made a decision which I still do not understand and we will look to see if we can put a complaint in. Firstly they forced the player to travel. Then they forced him to play 90 minutes after being injured and had a centre-back on the bench who did not play at all, in a friendly game knowing they do not even go to the European Championship.‘I never asked any player not to go 100 per cent for his country when it’s a qualifier or big competition, but friendlies are becoming more and more difficult especially in this period. We were the only team in the world who had that schedule so it’s very difficult to understand that our players had to go injured to Greece and to play 90 minutes for Belgium.

While I agree with the principal of Wenger’s grounds for complaint, I don’t agree with the way he has blasted Belgium for their treatment of Vermaelen straight to the media, before lodging a complaint. He should of written a letter directly to FIFA and never mentioned this to the press at a vital point in Arsenal’s season and only a few months before the European Championships start. The complaint will start a debate about whether international friendlies should be player during the season anymore. I think this is wrong. International teams do not have enough time as it is to gel together and work on tactics. Fair enough clubs pay the players’ wages but the greatest honour of all for a footballer is to represent his country.

The other players to return from international duty injured were Arsenal captain Robin Van Persie and Liverpool Skipper Steven Gerrard.

A Thrilling Encounter

The game against Liverpool, for Arsenal, never really reached the highs and lows of the North London Derby but there was plenty of drama.

On 17 minutes Arsenal goalkeeper Szczesny conceded his second penalty in his last two Premier League games. This time Suarez, like Bale, seemed to tumble over Szczesny before contact was even made. Also, despite the referee having no chance of seeing through the crowd of players, he awarded the penalty to Liverpool. Kuyt, one of Liverpool’s Carling Cup penalty shoot-out scorers, stepped up only to find Szczesny equal to his penalty and the young pole then got back up to make a fantastic second save to deny Kuyt’s tame follow up.

6 minutes later, however, and Arsenal fans around the country breathed a collective sigh as Koscielny wildly hacked the ball into his own net from a Henderson cross, a move which was start by the passing abilities of Downing and Spearing.

The next 8 minutes were completely dominated by Liverpool and Arsenal were being played off the park until, against the run of play, Robin Van Persie stepped up to head home a brilliant cross from Sagna. Sagna was given too much room by Enrique, who tipped Walcott as his biggest threat before the game, and Van Persie showed he was too strong for Carragher who failed to get goal side.

Liverpool could of had been 3-1 up by half time thanks to brilliant work by Suarez and Kuyt. It was Suarez with the first when he jinked past 4 Arsenal players only to be denied by Szczesny. Then the Dutchman, Kuyt, was unlucky when he turned a cross towards goal only to be denied by the post before an Arsenal player hacked the ball clear.

The half ended 1-1 and neither manager had a right to be happy with their team. The performance of both teams was below what should be displayed.

It wasn’t long into the second half before we had another bit of drama. This time it wasn’t a goal or penalty. It was Mikel Arteta down on the deck after a collision with Henderson, which I thought was more malicious by Henderson than the commentators wanted to admit. Either way, Arteta had severe concussion and had to go off to be replaced by the fit-again Abou Diaby. It was long before Diaby warmed Reina’s palms with a 20-yard strike which was comfortable for Reina.
The next big chance of the game came on 71 minutes when Gibbs got in behind the Liverpool defence before playing in Walcott who was denied by a wonderful save from Reina.

Arsene Wenger then opted to make his second substitution of the game on 74 minutes. Benayoun, brilliant against Tottenham and non-existent today, replaced by Gervinho. Then Liverpool attacked.

Downing broke clear of the Arsenal defence and only had to roll the ball to Suarez for an easy tap in but the out-of-form winger got it hopelessly wrong and the chance was gone.

The same man again, Downing, had a chance to right his earlier wrong a couple minutes later only to sum up his dreadful season by dragging a volley dreadfully wide.

Bad news followed Downing’s chance. Arsenal’s Diaby looked as if he had picked up another injury and was replaced by The Ox on 80 minutes. Gutted for him.

The game dragged on as Liverpool began to take control before the fourth official indicated on his board that there would be 8 minutes of added time, an omen for two teams who have scored 6 goals after the 90th minute in recent games.

Then it happened. It was like a replay of another Merseyside team, Everton being split open by the same two players in similar fashion. Song was again played a chipped ball over the top for Van Persie to volley a placed shot between Reina and his near post. For the second time in 7 days RVP had sent the Arsenal away fans into raptures, 2-1.

The win leaves Liverpool all but out of the Champions League next season but more importantly it leaves Arsenal just 4 points behind Tottenham. Although, Tottenham have a game in hand.

In the post match interview Van Persie was asked how significant the win was for the club and he said ‘It means a lot. To score at Anfield is big, because Anfield is a massive ground. I’m proud of that, but even more proud of this win. I don’t think we really deserved it, to be honest, because Liverpool played better.”

He added: ‘I think we are 10 points ahead of Liverpool now and we can wait to see what Spurs do tomorrow. It’s a big win, a massive win.’

Robin’s performance earned him the MoM champagne but the striker opted to give it to, in my opinion the real MoM, ‘Szczesny. Of his penalty save, Szczesny said: ‘I got a little bit of stick from the boss yesterday for not saving the previous three penalties. I went the right way every time and did not get anywhere near them. So there was pressure on me today to save the first one. I did not really believe I could save the second one. But I think he (Kuyt) scuffed the rebound a little bit and it was not actually that difficult a save.’

Wenger’s interview, however, was a bit bleaker. The manager said ‘The bad news of the day is that Diaby is injured and did his hamstring. Benayoun has a small hamstring problem, Gibbs has a problem. We look decimated after the game. I don’t know who will be available on Tuesday night.’

A vital three points away from home from Arsenal today in their fight to finish third. They also became the first team this season to take all 3 points away from Anfield, making it 4 straight Premier League wins for Arsene’s boys.

Next up is Milan and Arsenal face an uphill challenge. Wenger was quoted as saying ‘Maybe I will play with six strikers, as we have to score goals!’

That’s all folks, hope you enjoyed and don’t forget to follow me @leeodonovan

North London Derby Full Report

February 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Arsenal FC, Premier League

For Arsenal fans’ the lead up to the North London Derby delivered its first sucker punch when it was announced by Robin Van Persie in Arsenal’s official match day programme that he will not consider extending his contract until the end of the season.

The Flying Dutchman’s current deal expires in 2013 and has attracted large interest from Barcelona, according to newspapers in Spain.

Robin clarified the situation in the programme by saying, ‘there have been a lot of stories, generally contradictory ones, about my contract situation recently so I’d like to make it clear,’ he said.

‘There’s nothing complicated or sinister – the Club and I have both agreed to speak at the end of the season and see how things stand. The boss, Ivan Gazidis and I are all comfortable with it. ‘I need all my focus to be on football – on captaining this team, improving every day, doing extra work on the training pitch and preparing for the very busy schedule of fixtures we have. If I look down the list, there’s not much time to sit down and think about anything else! For me, this is a time to play football and not speak about personal things. All of my energy needs to go on getting this team where we want it to be this season.’

That was just a taste of things to come. Just 4 minutes into the game, the stadium erupted. Unfortunately, it wasn’t Arsenal celebrating. Spurs had taken the lead after a deflected Saha shot seemed to take forever to loop over Chesney’s head a bounce into the young ‘keepers empty net. The simple move had made Arsenals defence looked exposed like it has been all season. Song was out of position, Vermaelen was in no man’s land and Gibbs was out of his depth.

Then it got worse. 34 minutes Gibbs was beaten for pace and strength by Bale down Arsenal’s left before the Welshman distastefully dived over the sprawled-out arms of Chesney. Mike Dean, however, took the bait and awarded Spurs the penalty. Surely a red card for Chesney, right? Wrong. Mr. Dean confided with his assistant before deciding not to book the Arsenal keeper. Up stepped the much hated Adebayor. Emmanuel had scored 3 out of 4 penalties so far and his run up exuded confidence as he placed the ball just out of the reach of Chesney who dived well to his left. 2-0. The faces of the Spurs fans said game over. Arsenal’s players had other ideas.

On 40 minutes Arsenal’s comeback started. Van Persie’s right footed shot struck the post before the ball fell to Arteta who crossed for Sagna to head home with a beautiful, controlled header. Three minutes later Van Persie curled a superb shot beyond the helpless Friedel and equalise for Arsenal to the amazement of the fans. Game on.

The second half started with Redknapp making two changes to try and steady his shaky midfield. Sandro and Van Der Vaart came on for Kranjcar and Saha and Spurs went from a 442 to a 451 formation.

The changes made no difference, though, and after 6 minutes of the second half Arsenal had taken the lead for the first time in the match. The brilliant Rosicky scored his first goal in over 2 years and sent the fans into raptures. The comeback was complete. Arsenal was where they wanted to be.

It didn’t stop there though. Arsene’s faith in Walcott, despite fans’ pleas to take him off, paid off and the young forward, starting in his favoured striker role, went from zero to hero with a quick fire brace. His first came on 65 minutes when the striker coolly clipped the ball over Friedel, despite miss-controlling the pass from Van Persie, to finish off a superb ‘classic’ Arsenal move. His second came in a similar fashion as Theo raced away from the Spurs defence before slotting calmly into Friedel’s right-hand corner.

It went from bad to worse for Harry’s men as Scott Parker was sent off for a second bookable offence. The game, for Spurs, was over. The fans’ headed for the exits and Harry and his coaching staff could only sit and watch in misery.

The final whistle sparked pandemonium from the home fans’ and something Arsenal fans and players really needed to see, an Arsene Wenger smile.

Arsene Wenger later described the performance from his players as ‘perfect.’ He said ‘It was a performance full of everything you want from your team. It had team spirit, technique, resilience. It was an exciting game. We had a difficult start but kept going and showed great character again today. When you’re 2-0 down against a team in front of you with the quality they have, you need something exceptional.’

‘We refused to lose today, we kept going and in the end I think we had too much quality and drive.’ Asked if it is still a foregone conclusion that Spurs will finish ahead of them in the league, Wenger said: “I don’t think so. Mathematically we can come back. If we’re consistent, anything is possible.’
Van Persie had time to heap praise on the largely criticised Walcott. ‘If I speak about my friend, Theo, I think it is quite funny that he gets so much criticism,’ said the Dutchman. ‘He gave me loads of assists and I know, and everyone knows, that he can score, and he showed that today.’

There was, however some bad news for Arsenal injury wise as it emerged that Vermaelen picked up an ankle injury and Rosicky picked up a back injury.

It doesn’t matter though. This was the greatest victory in my living memory. This definitely beats my old favourite, the 5-1 victory against Inter Milan.

Leave a comment and follow me @leeodonovan

Singing The Praises Of Song

We all know Alex Song the tenacious, tough tackling defensive midfielder. Yesterday, however, he showed us a side to him that we had only glimpsed before. Song, 24, showed us that he’s not just a tough-tackling, knuckle-headed dm. In fact, he showed such incredible craft and vision so precise that he is on level terms with David Silva for most successful through balls. Defensive midfielder? Let’s see.

We shall start at the beginning, where did he come from? Well, he was born Alexandre Dimitri Song Billong on September 9th 1987 in Douala, Cameroon. At the age of 3 Alex was left fatherless when his father sadly passed away. His cousin Rigobert, however, stepped up to the plate and took it upon himself to give Alex a father figure and nurtured him. Rigobert was a major factor in Alex looking to football as a career. Unfortunately he was unable to find a club or academy where he could play regular football and improve his ability.

At the tender age 16 of Alex moved to France and joined SC Bastia’s youth team. In 2004 François Ciccolini took charge of the club and was so impressed with the 16 year old he decided to promote him to the first-team. In the 2004-2005 season Alex managed to notch up 31 first team appearances.

During Song’s spell with Bastia he attracted an increasing amount of interest from top European clubs. Bastia, however, regarded Song as a prize asset and didn’t want to sell him so they agreed to loan him to Arsenal for the 2005-2006 season where he made 5 appearances before Wenger decided to operate a clause in his loan contract and signed the Versatile player for £1,000,000 on a four-year contract despite heavy competition from Lyon.

Song’s Arsenal career had began bright where he had made several league and Champions League appearances in the lead up to the January transfer window. On January 9th 2007 Alex scored his first goal for Arsenal in the memorable 6-3 drubbing of Liverpool in the League Cup. On 30 January 2007, it was confirmed that Charlton Athletic had signed Song on loan until the end of the 2006–07 season. [Although he impressed, Charlton were relegated and Song returned to Arsenal after racking up 13 appearances for the former premier league side.

The 2008-2009 season proved to be Song’s breakthrough season where he made 48 appearances in all competitions for the first team. The following season, however, he played in all but one of Arsenal’s first twelve Premier League games and also finished third in Arsenal.com’s player of the month for October, behind Cesc and RVP. Alex quickly established himself as an integral part of Arsenal’s midfield. His tough tackling, commanding performances allowing Arsenal’s more attacking, creative players to attack more freely. More specifically he was the perfect partner for Fabregas. Two completely different players who complimented each other’s style of play and formed the Arsenal engine for the 09-10 season. The following season saw Alex finish with 42 appearances in total, 5 goals and 3 assists in all competitions.

That brings us up to the current season. Since the departures of Samir and Cesc and injuries to Wilshere and Diaby, Alex has found himself short of creative players in front of him with the fit-again Ramsey and new recruit Arteta being run ragged. Arsene did manage to sign Yossi Benayoun from Chelsea on a season long loan but thus far he has been unable to make a solid contribution to the team, along with Rosicky.

With that stark truth settling around the Emirates unrest started when Arsenal made their worst start to a season for 58 years and it was apparent the team was unsettled and largely relied on the injury prone skipper RVP to provide the goals.

Let’s fast forward to December 10th 2011. The Emirates is packed with over 60,000 expectant fans. After over an hour of play the scores are still level at 0-0 and the game looked destined to be goalless when up steps the Cameroonian Commander Alex Song. After seeing Ramsey, Arteta, Walcott and Gervinho all fails to play through a decisive ball to create a real chancee for Van Persie, Song leapt from the darkness to play a 20-yard chipped pass, from 15 yards into EFC’s half, over the head of Phil Jagielka for Van Persie to volley home brilliantly. Yesterday was much to same story, Alex was continually probing away at the Blackburn defence and played a huge part in Arsenal’s flamboyant success.

In my opinion, Song is one of the best players in the premier league and to compare to him to a player like Vieira is something that would be totally unfair. Alex has developed his own style of play and is beginning to master it, he has been trusted to fill a void left by the departure of four creative midfielders and I believe he has the talent to do so. He will be the perfect midfield partner to a fit again Wilshere. The future can only get better for a player who has maturity beyond his years and I think coupling his performance alongside that of Coquelin, Chamberlain and Walcott, not to mention those who didn’t play a part, I believe it is fair to say that the future is very bright under Arsene. All he needs to do this season is let the players do what they do best. Their confidence levels are brimming so a good run of form looks to be on its way.

AW has his philosophy to follow, I have mine. In Arsene I Trust.

Thanks for reading, please leave a comment on your views of everything Arsenal. Hope you enjoyed my debut article for ArsenalTalk and don’t forget to follow me. @leeodonovan

Dortmund, Diaby and THAT Dutchman!

November 22, 2011 by  
Filed under Arsenal FC, Champions League, Premier League

Greetings fellow Gooners!

Up to 7th and within touching distance of the Champions League places again…Crisis? What crisis?!?!

Of course, we all had our doubts at one point or another. We all had to listen to the media screaming about the end of Arsenal. We all had to listen to other “fans” crying out for the head of Arsene Wenger. We even had to sit through protests at the stadium before games (just what is needed when you have a team desperately low on confidence!). But, in the end, that “mentul strengff” that we have heard so much about and has been questioned so very much in seasons past, really has shone through.

1-0 down away to Norwich. Hhmmm. five weeks ago we would have been hoping that we managed to keep the score respectable but when a team is in the kind of form that we are in, when the captain is in a run of games like he is (more on him later!) and when the general levels of confidence around most of the players appear to be sky-high, anything is possible.

And possible it was! Another fantastic showing from van Persie, ably supported in yet another starring role by the also in-form Gervinho and Walcott who in turn are being given a backbone of extreme strength by Arteta, Song and the fabulous Ramsey and before you could say 2-1 to the Arsenal it was, well, 2-1 to the Arsenal!

Another three precious points in the bag on a weekend that saw Chelsea, Aston Villa and Newcastle all lose and BOOM there we are in joint 5th (I know, I know, we are 7th on goal difference, but joint 5th sounds so much nicer!), seven points clear of 8th place and looking straight up the backsides of the Toon and the Lillywhite Shite and toying with the idea of being 3rd when we were being asked if we were in a relegation fight only weeks ago!

On top of all of this exciting news, we could see a few shocks next weekend too with West Brom unlikely to make things easy for the Spuds for their visit to The Hawthorns, Newcastle away to the yet again smash and grabbing, 1-0 winning, lucky feckers United and Liverpool hosting Citeh. With us at home to the currently woeful Fulham, I expect to see us climb to 5th or even 4th by the end of Sunday. Seriously?! Did I just say that the same Arsenal team that lost all of its creativity and its best players in the summer, replaced them with a bunch of unknowns and rejects after being thrashed 8-2 by the eternally indebted, could actually be in the Champions League places with about two-thirds of the season left to play?!

And that is how fickle the football Dennises are and how even more fickle football fans can be.

But that is next weekend and we have the small matter of Dortmund at home in the Champions League first.

Dortmund are actually in great form in the league of late, having dispatched Bundesliga leaders Bayern 1-0 away from home on Saturday to continue an unbeaten run that stretches back to the 18th of September, scoring 20 goals in their last seven outings and conceding only three goals in the process. They do seem unable to replicate anything like the same form in the Champions League though, with only four points from four games scoring three and conceding seven!

So a win is to be expected, but is far from guaranteed. Any team with players in the creative positions like Gotze, Großkreutz and Kagawa are capable of beating anybody on their day. It just seems that their day isn’t, hopefully, destined to be in this seasons Champions League. Another reason that the Germans should be taken very seriously indeed is that, should they fail to get something from this game, they will be out of the competition. They have nothing left to lose and everything left to gain and that is exactly what Jürgen Klopp will be telling his team.

So, with this game offering us the opportunity to guarantee qualification in the event that we win it, or even draw it for that matter, and Dortmund realistically needing a win to stand a chance of advancing in the competition, one expects that Arsene will put out something like his strongest side. With the injury list growing faster than it is shrinking (Rosicky – Thigh, Chamakh – Knee and Miyaichi – Ankle now added to the long-term injuries to Wilshere, Sagna, Jenkinson and Gibbs), I would imagine the team to look something like this:

Predicted Line-Up v Dortmund

OK, I know I have put Arshavin in over Gervinho on about three occasions so far this season only for Wenger to surprise me and leave the Ivorian in and, more surprisingly, the Russian out, but I really do think that this time he will get the nod, if for no other reason than Gervinho is playing a lot of games for us at the moment and is currently in a run of form that would allow him the luxury of this being a rest and not being dropped in favour of Arshavin. If you see what I mean?!

Predictions are tough for this one as with only a point needed to guarantee qualification one would think that a tight defence and a cat and mouse game of counter-attacking would be on the cards. There is, however, the small matter of Marseille playing Olympiacos at home thus almost guaranteed the three points, which would mean that a draw would leave us in 2nd place and hoping for a result away in Greece or Dortmund doing us a favour at home to Marseille in two weeks time, all of which sounds like the hard way to go about things…But this is Arsenal and the hard way IS the Arsenal way!

In truth, the best way to go about this is to get at them early, try to get an early goal and then keep going. Dortmund will be dangerous on the counter, of course, but then again, we are dangerous from just about anywhere right now! And can anybody really see us trying to grab a goal and then sit on it for the remainder of the game?! No, me neither. So, with all that in mind, I am going for a 3-1 win and a good performance to go with it. If Song can put in the kind of shift that he has been of late, we may even see the likes of Gotze struggle for the time and space that his game needs and we could even get away with a clean sheet! Arsenal?! Clean sheet?! Are you MAD?!??!

Come Wednesday, we shall find out! Mad or not, I genuinely believe that this is one of the best Arsenal squads for a few years now and one that has the potential to keep going where others have been found wanting. With players like Miyaichi, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Frimpong and Aneke, Ozyakup and Miquel waiting in the wings, this really could be the beginning of something quite special that could last for years rather than the end of Arsenal Football Club as many were predicting only a few weeks ago.

And with Sagna, Jenkinson, Wilshere and Gibbs all still to return, we may even see a season where the all too familiar self-destruction sequence is avoided and a stronger team emerges after Christmas. Only time will tell, but I know that this is, yet again thanks to Arsene Wenger, a wonderful time to be a Gooner!

Diaby Returns AGAIN!

Since having his leg broken for him some 5 years ago by that knuckle-dragging imbecile Dan Smith, his ability to stay fit has been seriously questioned. Strangely he is not particularly popular amongst Arsenal fans even though his playing statistics show a player of some impact. 20 goals and 14 assists in 158 matches for a box-to-box midfielder are not bad statistics at all, although I am aware that these numbers do not speak the whole truth regarding his at times seeming inability to make a decision in time to not lose the ball in the most dangerous of positions, neither do they show how easy it is to reduce your popularity when getting a stupid and unnecessary red card in a game in which we are 4-0 up at Newcastle only to then see the referee basically hand a draw to the Toon with a couple of unspeakably ridiculous penalty awards, a failure to send off one of their players for a headlock/strangulation effort on “the Pole between the poles” and a generally hideous defensive effort. To place all the blame on the midfielder for all of that seems a little unfair but scapegoats will always be found when needed and his was the most obvious place in which to point the finger.

in my opinion his return to fitness (and subsequent inclusion in the squad to face Dortmund), hopefully for more than a handful of games this time, should only be a good thing in terms of squad depth and, if he realises only a fraction of his enormous potential, we could see a great set of midfielders competing for places come January. Imagine this: Wilshere, Ramsey, Arteta, Diaby, Benayoun, Song, Frimpong and Rosicky all competing for three starting places. Competition for places is often overlooked in the bigger picture, but I believe that Walcott, Song, Koscielny, Gibbs and Ramsey are all showing great leaps in class since their places were no longer guaranteed due to the arrivals and emergences of the Ox, Frimpong, Mertesacker, Santos and Wilshere respectively.

As Arsene has recently said, this is a big squad but also a squad with strength in depth and “those who shall not be pleased” who claim otherwise are ignoring the obvious in deference of searching for more reasons to bleat.

Let them bleat, I say!

Van STILL The Man!

Robin van Persie’s incredible run of form since he finally managed to find a run of games without serious injury now sees him with 31 goals in 29 games in 2011, top of the goalscoring charts in the Premier League and a set of statistics that put him up there with the very best players in the world – 13 goals in 12 league games compared with 14 in 12 for Ronaldo and 15 in 12 for Messi.

Couple this with the obvious understanding developing quickly between him and Theo Walcott and the constantly improving form of Gervinho, we look like we can score whenever we attack, even if the bulk of those goals are coming from the one man.

Of course, without a new contract signed sealed and delivered, there is the fear that our Dutch talisman could be on his way for a fistful of dollars come the end of the season. Personally I do not put much stock in the relentless rumours of his inevitable departure and believe that a combination of the board, Arsene and the fans will do just as much as the team to convince him to stay as any amount of money could convince him to leave. A player enjoying his football as much as he is would find it difficult to leave any team, but one that actually wins something, which I believe that this team is capable of this season, would, of course, make it even more difficult.

The chance that he may go the way of the likes of Na$ri, AdePayMeMore and Clichy exists until that contract is signed but, as we have seen in recent years, signing a new contract doesn’t guarantee that a player will stay anyway. As fans the very best that we can do is get behind him, the team and the manager and show him and all of our other great players that we are the best fans in the world and that this team is one with a glowing future that he would be mad to leave behind.

So, let’s do our jobs and get behind the team and the manager as well as the captain and let’s make that 12th man truly count.

Come on you League Climbing, Champions League Knock-out Rounds Qualifying Bright Future Gooooooonnnnneeeeerrrrssss!

Real football is back!

November 19, 2011 by  
Filed under Arsenal FC, Premier League

Afternoon fellow Gooners,

I believe this International break was a bit too much of a hype with so called play off’s taking place and few friendlies doing the usual boring injection of football to our souls, it’s like being back from hibernation. I don’t know how some fans in Europe cope with the so called Winter break.

Anyway back to business please as usual as we LOVE IT!

Few niggly bits doing the rounds as usual, Blatter has made a complete fool out of himself and no one within UEFA is able to see the light at the end of the tunnel (must go to Spec Savers I say), a lot of people talking but not much being done about it. Some things never change as some would say.  He should really take it on the chin and disappear for once and for all. Racism should never be a part of football however the ones to blame play the game and perhaps they need to be educated. Then again  you are what you are and sometimes you can’t change the way other people think. Either way they should know better they are grown men and should behave with dignity and respect.

Back to Arsenal and ahead of Norwich there are good and bad news coming from the medical wing. Bad news for Kieran Gibbs and Jenkinson as these two are going to be out for sometime:

“He has a hernia and had surgery on Thursday. He looks like he will be out for between four and five weeks. At first he had an abdominal strain, certainly caused by the fact that he had a hernia already. When the strain was healed we discovered that he had a hernia. We had a fear that could be behind it so we decided to do the surgery.”

“Carl has a stress fracture in his back. That’s just about rest now. We discovered that because he had a pain in his back. First you monitor it, then play a little bit and then you check again because you are cautious.”

The good news is that Wilshere is making good progress in his recovery and Diaby and Chamakh are back in full training. I know there is still some time to go for Jack even though we will only see him back in late Jan next year:

“We have no chance to get Wilshere back before the New Year. The only positive thing is the X-ray after six weeks – which was a vital one – and looked very positive and very good. So he will be on time and as planned. His surgery went well, his healing is going well, but still there is no chance before the middle or end of January.”

With Sanga and Jenkinson out it remains to be seen who will Arsene play in the right back position, something tells me that Djourou will be covering this spot, to be honest it’s a real shame as I have started enjoying Jenkinson’s crosses of late. This lad can definitely cross the ball.

Norwich will prove to be a tough test in my opinion, since being promoted back to the top flight football they have done very well. Last game I saw with them they came very close  away at Man U. We need to pick up from where we left it there is no other way, another must win game. We have already lost too many games this season. Opposition will be tough but I believe we have enough gas in the tank to overcome them and finally put those November omens where they belong.

Come on you Rip Roaring Free Scoring Gooners!!!

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